|The Legend of Zelda|
Ocarina of Time
|Reviewed by BJ Strykes|
I recently replayed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and had wanted to revise my old review for it. However, I don't really have time or motivation right now, so here is the old review, exactly as it was. I pretty much still agree with what I wrote. And I apologize for the lack of an intro paragraph. Perhaps this one will make up for it.
Well, what can I say? These graphics were definitely among the best I had ever seen, and possibly the best on the N64. They didn't make use of the High-res pak, but you would hardly care. (Though one has to wonder just how much better they would've been!) These aren't the flat polygons of the first-generation N64 games. Everything seems highly detailed and animated. When you stand outside Hyrule Castle and look across the field, everything looks very real. The temples and dungeons are equally as splendid. I didn't see hardly any use of "fog", except for where appropriate, like in Zora's Fountain when it's winter. There is some "polygon pop-up", but it doesn't really bother me, and I'd rather have that than a ton of fog, anyway. I particularly liked the detail in the Forest Temple and Spirit Temple. I also liked the effect of the sandstorm in the Haunted Wasteland. The enemies, especially the bosses, look really nice and detailed. I particularly like the "undead" areas, too, like the Shadow temple and the Bottom of the Well.
But, that isn't to say this game is without its flaws in the graphics department, as well. The 3-D areas are done very well, on the whole, but some of the 2-D areas are extremely blurry. (Or perhaps it's my eyes, but I don't think so.) The central area of the market looks blurry to me. (Although the Back Alleys and the Temple of Time look very good, and have almost no blur.) The graphics of the different areas are varied enough just so that I don't feel like I don't kno where I'm going, unlike some other 3-D games where one room or hallways can look exactly like another.
Overall, I'd give the graphics about a 9.0 out of 10.
Well.....Maybe it's because it's not exactly "symphonic" or because the original "Zelda theme" was left out, but personally, I don't understand what all the ruckus is over this game's sound. I think it has one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard. The Hyrule Field Main Theme sounds like a remix of the Zelda Theme, and I prefer a remix over a rehash, anyway. Most of the music seems to fit the mood perfectly, although there isn't anything over-emotional.
My only complaint is the Ice Cave and Forest Temple music began to bug me after awhile. But I was glad each temple had a different theme, unlike ALttP where they were all the same and I was pulling my hair out by about the 5th dungeon. I think my favorite "music", if you could call it that, is the "undead" theme: The creepy stuff that plays in the Shadow Temple and other "undead" areas.
The sound effects are equally as good, and the voices are very clear. I like the "yelping" noises the Lizalfos make! My only complaint here is that Young Link's voice makes me want to strangle him after awhile! I also think it's good they kept the voices to a minimum. I find that in most games that use voice acting, it's usually pretty horrible.
Overall, I give the sound about an 8.5 out of 10.
Control really is not that much of a problem, at all. It's very simple and easy to learn. The only thing is, it's even simpler than you might think. For example, I find myself wanting to push a button to jump or adjust the camera, when both these things are automatic. Speaking of camera-angles, I don't think that's much of a problem in this game. (Or maybe I'm just getting used to 3-D, I'm not sure which it is.) The Z-Targeting system makes the play control even easier, and you can adjust your C-Button items to best suit your needs.
My one complaint is that this game never really "forces" you to master all the fighting techniques. I find that Z-Targeting, and hack and slash techniques get you past almost any enemy. I never even do the backflipping, and side-stepping and stuff like that. I haven't mastered it, and I can still beat the game. Kind of strange there wouldn't be some enemies that would absolutely require you to do this stuff or else die.
Overall, I give the play control about an 8.5 out of 10.
Okay, here's where this game begins to slack off. This is one long game, but I kind of felt as though I "trudged' through it. I think I died once when fighting the first boss (because I was still getting used to the play mechanics), again when fighting Dark Link, and a few times in the Fire Temple, and Shadow Temple. But I don't recall ever being really preplexed as to how to surpass an obstacle, like I have been in previous Zelda games. Although it would seem, ever since Zelda 2, the difficulty of the Zelda series has decreased with each installment. ALttP and Link's Awakening were easier, IMO, than the first two, and this one is, perhaps, easier than all of them. Although most people think they are easy, the two toughest bosses for me were Bongo Bongo and Ganondorf. (But it's probably because of my poor judgment when it comes to following certain moving objects in 3-D.)
The main challenge of this game is finding every damn object, but you aren't "forced" to. You can beat the game without finding alot of things. And there's really no point in finding every Gold Skulltula, because the reward you get is insignificant. However, this isn't to say the game isn't enjoyable. If it were really short, then I might gripe about this some more, but the game is so long, and has alot of large dungeons and areas to complete, so you will be kept busy. It's just that most of it isn't overly difficult.
Overall, I give the challenge about a 5.5 out of 10.
I think Zelda: Link's Awakening spoiled people. That game proved Zelda could have a great story that didn't involve finding the Triforce and defeating Ganon, and that's what people want now. Otherwise, I'm not sure why people are complaining about this game's story. First of all, until now, I've never heard of people playing a Zelda game for its story. And whose idea was it to take an action/puzzle/adventure game and turn it into a grand soap opera? Maybe that's why the challenge level was sacrificed...in favor of a storyline...I really have to wonder. Saving Princess Zelda in the first two Zelda games was just to give the game a point or goal to it. So now they take that simple goal, revolve a plot around it, and everyone blows a gasket.
BUT ANYWAY! Basically, the theme is the same as it always is for Zelda: Find some objects of power in a dungeon, put them all together, and be granted some power that allows you defeat the final boss and rescue the Princess/World. But when you look at it, that's sort of the plot for ALOT of games. That's not to say this game doesn't have its moments. I liked the whole storyline with Sheik (even though I figured it out ahead of time.) I liked the Time Travel idea, and the saga of Link and Saria (even though you sort of have to figure out some of that for yourself.) But on the whole, there's not much here you're gonna laugh and cry over. It's a better plot than some games I've played, but it isn't laid on too thick.
Overall, I'd give the story about a 7.0 out of a 10.
Gameplay and Design:
Well, I've pretty much already explained this in the Challenge section. This game is long and involving and there's a lot to do. Each of the dungeons is unique and presents new obstacles. My biggest complaint is that many of the puzzles seem too obvious. In previous Zelda games, it wasn't always obvious what to do, and you could get "stumped" for quite awhile. I got "stumped" a few times on this game, but most of the solutions just seemed out in plain sight. Overall, I can see where this game could've been better, but in all honesty, I really don't think it has much to do with the game being in 3-D...Unless the more "realistic" a game gets, the more obvious the solutions to the game's puzzles become. Still, I had a really good time playing this game. I have replayed it three times since beating it, so to me, it doesn't seem to get old.
Of course, I'm trying to beat it in less time, and with fewer heart containers and bottles, and stuff like that. That's something you could do with all Zelda games for replay value, and this one's no different in that department. As for being "Game of the Century"...I pay absolutely no or very little attention to all the "hype", so I hadn't heard it called that until it was mentioned in Nintendo Power magazine. I wouldn't call this "Game of the Century". I can't even think of a game I would call that. However, this is definitely the best of the N64 games I've played, and one of the best Action/Adventures I've ever played, too. Just next time, guys, put something in Hyrule Field for us to play with!
Overall, I give this game about an 8.5 out of a 10!
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